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Daily Archives: 10/19/2010

Pakistan denies bin Laden’s presence in country – interior minister

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October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Islamabad has rejected reports by leading world media claiming that “terrorist number 1,” Osama bin Laden, and the group of his backers have taken shelter in Pakistan, Dawn News TV channel said on Tuesday citing the Pakistani interior minister.

“I strongly deny the reports about the presence of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar in Pakistan,” Rehman Malik said.

Malik’s statement came after a CNN report referring to an unnamed NATO official, which said that bin Laden and al Qaeda’s number two man, Egyptian al-Zawahiri, had taken shelter in northwestern Pakistan while the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, was living in the south of the country, moving between the cities of Quetta and Karachi.

“Bin Laden and all the terrorists are against Islam and against Pakistan, they are assassins. If we had any information, we would take actions against them,” Malik said.

Numerous reports from world media repeatedly say that the international terrorist’s shelter is in Pakistan. Islamabad traditionally denies the reports, saying nobody has ever given any information about bin Laden.

NEW DELHI, October 19 (RIA Novosti)

Chinese president calls for joint efforts with Russia on common development, global challenges


Chinese President Hu Jintao (R), shakes hands with Sergei Mironov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council, in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Fan Rujun)

 

October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Chinese President Hu Jintao said Tuesday that China and Russia should make joint efforts to achieve common development and combat global challenges.

While meeting with Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Sergei Mironov in Beijing, Hu urged the two countries to work for the establishment of a more fair and rational international order.

Mironov’s visit, which ran from Oct. 17 to 19, was another high-level visit on the heels of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day state visit to China last month.

 

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front), meets with Sergei Mironov(L, front), Chairman of the Russian Federation Council, in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Fan Rujun)



“China is willing to work with Russia to materialize consensuses and tasks agreed to during high-level visits,” said Hu.

Mironov on Monday co-chaired with China’s top legislator Wu Bangguo the fourth meeting of the cooperation committee between China’s National People’s Congress and the Russian Federation Council, a regular parliamentary exchange mechanism for the benefit of bilateral ties.

Hu said China supports the increasing exchanges between legislative bodies of the two countries, hoping the two sides could help publicize the ideas of generational friendship and reciprocal cooperation, push forward pragmatic cooperation in various fields and cooperation on adjacent regions of both countries.

Hu also said the two countries should enhance coordination within multilateral mechanisms in a bid to contribute to improved China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination.

Echoing Hu’s remarks, Mironov said the sound development of Russia-China ties complies with the mutual interests of both countries, adding that Medvedev’s successful visit, during which the two countries signed a package of deals and agreements, would have a positive impact on future bilateral cooperation.

The Russian Federation Council will play its due role in facilitating bilateral cooperation in such areas as politics, trade and energy so as to make new contributions to the friendship between the two countries, Mironov said.

Premier Wen Jiabao also met with Mironov later on Tuesday, and called on the two governments to fully implement consensuses reached by the two sides, inject new vitality into the two countries’ modernization process and maintain world peace and stability.

“The profound changes of the international situation has not only offered precious opportunities but also brought forward higher request for developing China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination,” Wen said.

US Attorney General Urges China to Release Nobel Peace Prize Winner

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, 19 Oct. 2010
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, 19 Oct. 2010

 

October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — The United States’ top law enforcement official has urged China to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
Speaking in Hong Kong Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Beijing should release Liu Xiaobo from prison and honor its international human rights commitments.

“The case of Liu Xiaobo is an unfortunate one,” said Holder. Given his status and his recognition by the Nobel committee, I think it’s incumbent upon the Chinese government to react in an appropriate way and consistent with its international treaty obligations and release him.”

Liu, the first Chinese resident to win the Nobel Peace Prize, is serving an 11-year sentence after advocating political reform in China. Liu’s wife has been placed under house arrest since the prize was announced on October 8th.

But Holder says Liu’s situation is unlikely to be part of his talks with Chinese officials this week. Instead, he said he expects to hold “frank” discussions on piracy and counterfeiting issues.

China is the number one source of counterfeit products arriving in the United States – from movies to medicines. But Holder stopped short of blaming Chinese piracy activities.

“No one country is responsible for all the problems that we face in the world,” he added. “No one country can solve the problems that we face in this area… That means working with our Chinese counterparts, having frank conversations and building on the progress that we can make. ”

Holder was in Hong Kong to attend an international conference on combating intellectual property rights abuse. Chinese officials have said the government continues to strengthen intellectual property rights protection.

Illegally copied goods cost companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Some, such as pirated medicines or car parts, can be life-threatening because they do not work as well as genuine goods.

Earlier this month, negotiators from 37 countries including the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Singapore and members of the European Union agreed on the key features of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would increase global enforcement of intellectual property rights.

All 37 confirmed dead in latest China mine disaster

Rescuers walk out of an entrance of Pingyu Mine after an explosion in Yuzhou, in central China's Henan province, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. Rescuers battled dangerous levels of gas, tons of coal dust and the risk of falling rocks as they worked to free miners after the explosion at the mine in central China early Saturday. (Getty Images / AP Photo)

October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – All 37 missing and trapped miners in China’s latest colliery disaster have been confirmed as dead, state media reported on Tuesday.

The gas leak occurred early on Saturday morning in a pit owned by Pingyu Coal & Electric Co Ltd based in Yuzhou city in the central province of Henan, although 239 people escaped.

Rescuers had said they expected there to be little chance of any missing miners being found alive and have now found the last five bodies, state news agency Xinhua reported, bringing the final death toll to 37.

Another gas leak in 2008 at the same mine killed 23 people.

The accident occurred after Chile’s dramatic rescue of 33 miners trapped for more than two months underground.

China’s mines are the deadliest in the world, due to lax safety standards and a rush to feed energy demand from a robust economy. More than 2,600 people died in coal mine accidents in 2009 alone.

Photostream: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets Turkish Defense Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gonul

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (R) presents Turkish Defense Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gonul with the American-Turkish Council Distinguished Defense Award during the American-Turkish Council's 29th Annual Conference on US -Turkish relations October 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo : MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, presents the Distinguished Defense Award to Turkey's Minister of National Defense Vecdi Gonul, during a ceremony at the American-Turkish Council's 29th annual conference on US Turkey relations, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 in Washington. (Getty Images /AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks at the American-Turkish Council's 29th Annual Conference on US -Turkish relations October 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images / AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN )

Turkish Defense Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gonul listens as US Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks at the American-Turkish Council's 29th Annual Conference on US -Turkish relations October 18, 2010 at a hotel in Washington, DC. (Photo : MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In personal letter to seminarians, Pope says priesthood is ‘great and pure’

Pope with seminarians

Vatican City, Oct 18, 2010 / 04:50 pm (KATAKAMI / CNA/EWTN News ).- In an often personal letter to the world’s seminarians, Pope Benedict XVI said the recently surfaced scandals of priest sexual abuse “cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure.”

His letter to men training for the priesthood was issued Oct. 18 to mark the close of the special “Year for Priests,” that ended in June.

The Pope compared the “difficult times” of today with the climate in the final months of Nazi regime in Germany when he was a young man. He recalled that when he was drafted for military service in December 1944, the commander asked him about his plans for the future.

“I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest,” the Pope said. “The lieutenant replied, ‘Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed.’”

The Pope said he knew then, just months before Hitler’s death and the Nazi surrender, that after “the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever.”

Today too, he said, men studying for the priesthood face skepticism that their ministry is no longer needed in a new age “marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization.”

For many, “the Catholic priesthood is not a ‘job’ for the future, but one that belongs more to the past,” he said.

But that is not true, Pope Benedict said. “You have done a good thing,” in entering seminary, he told the future priests.

“Because people will always have need of God … They will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity.”

The Pope’s letter included a detailed and often personal exhortation to seminarians on the role of the priesthood and the spiritual maturity that it requires.

The priest must first and foremost be a “man of God,” who is willing to grow in self-knowledge and “humility” through prayer, the Pope said. He encouraged the seminarians to cultivate an “inner closeness” with Jesus through the sacraments, especially the sacrament of Penance.

This sacrament is vitally important to the spiritual formation of priests, he said.

“It  teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself …” the Pope said. “Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbor.”

The Pope also urged seminarians  to foster “the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated.”

“This also involves the integration of sexuality into the whole personality,” he said. “Sexuality is a gift of the Creator yet it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive.”

“Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people,” the Pope added. “Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behavior caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret.”

“Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission,” Pope Benedict stressed, “which remains great and pure.”

Medvedev arrives in Deauville for meeting with Merkel, Sarkozy

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev wave as they leave the hotel before a tripartite summit between France, Germany and Russia in Deauville October 18, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool )

DEAUVILLE, October 18 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Deauville on Monday, October 18, for a summit meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The leaders will begin their discussion at a working dinner and then continue it on Tuesday morning. They will speak about its results at a press conference.

“The trilateral meeting is not some kind on an exclusive club for working out decisions separately from other states and international organisations, but a convenient format for comparing our common vision in a confidential and frank atmosphere with our closest partners in Europe with which our cooperation is very big,” Prikhodko told Itar-Tass.

“We are for the continuation of any useful format. In the opinion of the Russian side, this troika format is useful as an addition to regular Russia-EU, G8 and G20 summits,” the Kremlin official stressed.

He cited as an example of such informal summits the Weimar Triangle (France, Germany, Poland) and the Visegrad Four (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic).

Prikhodko added, “Medvedev plans no separate meetings in Deauville.”

He recalled that the initiative to create the Russian-German-French mechanism of interaction emerged in March 1998 at an informal meeting of the heads of the three countries. The main task of the troika then was “to promote the development of a multi-polar world excluding the possibility of dominance by any single power.”

The first such summit was held in Strasbourg in 1998 with the participation of Russia’s first President Boris Yeltsin. After that the troika gathered in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Vladimir Putin represented Russia at those meetings.

“We are, certainly, ready for the continuation of such meetings (after Deauville), it is an additional opportunity for us to discuss vital issues without protocol,” Prikhodko said. He did not answer a question why the troika has had a five-year interval in the meetings, and only said that the leaders had decided to gather when everybody was ready for it. “We are interested to continue such meetings,” he said.

“High on the agenda of the summit in the Group of Three format are prospects for building a democratic space of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic region and Eurasia that should match modern political realities and give joint responses to common threats and challenges,” Prikhodko said.

Russia “gives priority to the promotion of the initiative, which President Dmitry Medvedev put forward in 2008 to draft a new European security treaty,” he noted.

The Russian leader said earlier in the day, “Jointly with my colleagues – French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, we will discuss security in Europe.”

“I’d like to recall that my idea regarding the signing of a new European security treaty is aimed at this. I’d like this treaty and other efforts taken by our country in the field of security to receive a worthy response in the world,” he stressed.

According to Medvedev, “security is important not only for Europe but also for the Asia Pacific Region, for Africa and for America.” “That is why we will continue our efforts in all directions. The task, which is aimed at promoting this international agenda and improving security institutions, is correlated with modernisation of our country, our economy and our political system,” he emphasised.

“The purpose of this approach is to overcome the stereotypes and give up previous mentality. I believe that we have succeeded in doing this. Our contacts with the United States of America, Russian-Polish relations, the signing of the Russian-Norwegian border deal in the Barents Sea and other political events testify to this,” he said.

Medvedev also said, “Modern international relations should develop on a democratic basis. Recently I’ve spoke about this at the forum in Yaroslavl where I spelled out my vision on democratic standards.”

The summiteers “will share opinions on the Iranian nuclear problem, primarily in line with the development of positive tendencies that are taking shape after the meeting of the Sextet foreign ministers in New York,” Prikhodko underlined. Alongside, Prikhodko added that the resumption of the Sextet negotiations on the Iranian nuclear problem could hardly be discussed in practical terms at the summit of the leaders of Russia, France and Germany. “We cannot take separate isolated decisions. This is not a prerogative of the Group of Three,” he elaborated.

“Medvedev, Sarkozy and Merkel are expected to come out in support of the direct Palestinian-Israeli dialogue,” the Kremlin official said.

The Deauville summiteers “will also discuss preparations and will synchronise the positions ahead of forthcoming major foreign political events – an OSCE summit (Astana, December 1-2) and a Russia-EU summit (Brussels, December 7),” Prikhodko added.

Photostream : Russian President meets French, German leaders in Deauville

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev meet in Deauville October 18, 2010. Merkel and Medvedev are in Deauville to attend a tripartite summit between France, Germany and Russia. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev listen to national anthems in Deauville October 18, 2010. Merkel and Medvedev are in Deauville to attend a tripartite summit between France, Germany and Russia. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C)and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) welcome Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev in Deauville October 18, 2010. Merkel and Medvedev are in Deauville to attend a tripartite summit between France, Germany and Russia. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, left, French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, center, and Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, are seen after their meeting in Deauville, France, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010. The leaders of France, Germany and Russia meet for two-day summit in this French resort of Deauville to discuss joint security challenges and the upcoming G-20 summit. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

President Yudhoyono leaves Jakarta to open gubernatorial meeting in Makassar

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE JAKARTA POST) — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to leave Jakarta Tuesday morning for a one-day visit to Makassar, South Sulawesi, to open gubernatorial meeting, which will be held at Hotel Clarion.

The President is also scheduled to officiate several construction projects include a Rp 32 billion (US$3.5 million) of  Andi Mattalatta ferry port in Barru district and Pamatata Port worth Rp 54 billion in Selayar district, Tempointeraktif.com reported.

Yudhoyono will be accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and several ministers, including Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto, Coordinating Public Welfare Minister Agung Laksono and National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana.

Vice President Xi Jinping promoted, continuing path to presidency

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has been promoted to a key post in the Communist Party’s military committee, confirming his image as the anointed successor to President Hu Jintao, who is expected to step down in 2013.

 

October 19, 2010 (KATAKAMI / FRANCE 24 / AP) – Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was promoted to a key post in the Communist Party’s military committee Monday, affirming his path to be the country’s leader within three years.

The son of a party veteran, Xi (pronounced “she”) has employed success in earlier jobs, along with family and political connections, to become the party’s sixth-ranking leader. He has been viewed as the anointed successor to President Hu Jintao, who is expected to step down as party chief in 2012 and as president the next year.

Analysts see the 57-year-old Xi as a consensus choice at a time when Premier Wen Jiabao has been calling for unspecified changes to China’s one-party system and other leaders have harshly denounced any moves to adopt Western-style democratic institutions.

In addition to promoting Xi, the ruling party’s governing Central Committee also pledged to make “vigorous yet steady” efforts to promote political restructuring, the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV reported. They cited a document issued at Monday’s close of the committee’s annual four-day meeting.

No specifics were given, although party leaders routinely call for administrative refinements to shore up one-party rule.

Xinhua gave few details about Xi’s long-expected appointment to the Central Military Commission that oversees the 2.3 million-member People’s Liberation Army.
Xi’s appointment to the party’s military commission, and an identical one on the government side, has been viewed as a necessary step in preparing Xi for the top office.

“Barring anything unexpected, Xi will be taking over as party leader,” said Ni Lexiong, a professor at Shanghai’s University of Political Science and Law.

The 11-member commission already has two vice chairmen and is chaired by Hu, who had also been its only civilian member for the past five years, allowing him to consolidate his influence over the military at the expense of political rivals.

The reports indicated the commission was being expanded to 12 members rather than Xi replacing one of the current vice chairmen.

Without a transparent electoral process, the party utilizes such appointments to show that the succession is going ahead smoothly and predictably. Although the precedent is thin, Hu had been made a vice chairman of the military commission three years before taking over and Xi’s failure to receive the position last year had sparked speculation that the succession process had stalled.

In addition to affirming Xi’s path to the top, his appointment strengthens the party’s absolute control over the military in a repudiation of calls for the People’s Liberation Army to become a national army under government, not party, leadership.

It also stands as a show of unity among party leaders amid speculation about possible divisions over the scope and pace of political reform.

Being the son of a party veteran firmly places Xi in the camp of the “princelings”  – politicians whose political connections and degrees from top universities have won them entry into the country’s elite. Princelings often vie for position with the followers of former leader Jiang Zemin, who is believed to still wield considerable influence behind the scenes.

Xi built his career working in the wealthy eastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, and served briefly as party chief of Shanghai before being elevated to the all-powerful nine-man Politburo Standing Committee in 2007.

While Xi is not believed to be Hu’s first choice of successor, his rise illustrates the party’s overwhelming desire for balance and consensus, said Joseph Cheng, head of the Contemporary China Research Center at the City University of Hong Kong.

“Hu may have other preferences, but rocking the boat and changing the plan is too risky and the cost too high,” Cheng said.

There are also other key positions to be filled, and Hu is expected to want to influence those appointments to retain sway after he leaves office.

Along with promoting Xi, the 200-plus Central Committee members and more than 150 alternates approved parts of an economic blueprint for the next five years that aims to narrow the yawning gap between rich and poor and begin the delicate
preparations for a new generation of leaders.

The plan, covering 2011-2015, includes a greater focus on public services, promoting employment, strengthening the social security system, and better access to public health care, state media said.

China’s economy has boomed over the past three decades, but unevenly so.  Hundreds of millionaires have emerged while the urban poor struggle and development in the vast countryside lags.

Besides the wealth gap, leaders of the 78 million-member party also have to deal with a public dissatisfied with rising inflation, high housing prices, employment woes among college graduates, endemic corruption, while Tibetan and Muslim regions of western China are held in check by a smothering security presence.

Abroad, China is facing criticism from the U.S. for its currency and trade practices and its support for North Korea and ties with Iran.